South Carolina

Convicted murderer dies in cell at prison in Columbia, SC officials say

An inmate being held at a South Carolina prison in Columbia was found dead in his cell, the Department of Corrections officials said Sunday.

No foul play is suspected in the death of Edward Isaiah Nelson, who was locked up at the Broad River Correctional Institution, the S.C. Department of Corrections said on its Twitter feed.

He was serving a life sentence for murder following a 2018 conviction, according to the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Suicide is suspected in the death of the 25-year-old whose body was found Friday, according to the tweet.

Department of Corrections officials publicly reported Nelson’s death once a family member had been notified.

No cause of death has been determined, but an autopsy is scheduled for Nelson, and his death is being investigated by Department of Corrections officials.

The prison in Columbia is a male-only, high-security facility located on Broad River Road. It is a Level 3 prison, which is designed to incarcerate “violent offenders with longer sentences,” according to the Department of Corrections.

Nelson was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, the solicitor’s office said in a news release. The murder occurred in 2016, WCBD reported.

Shonda Davis was found stabbed to death after neighbors heard her screaming for help outside her Moncks Corner Apartment, according to the release. She was walking to her front door when Nelson attacked her with a butcher knife, the solicitor’s office said.

Davis’ death was “the most brutal murder,” ever seen by Moncks Corner Police Chief Rick Ollic, according to the release.

Three months before the murder, witnesses said they saw Nelson chase Davis outside the apartment while armed with a knife, and he was on parole for multiple strong-arm robberies when the attack occurred, the solicitor’s office said.

Ollic said Nelson had previously served a six-year prison sentence for other crimes, WCSC reported.

Nelson testified that he was enraged when Davis stopped taking his phone calls after she ended the relationship. In court, he said “if she’d have just answered the phone; if I could’ve just heard from her, I wanted to talk to her but she wanted to go out with her friends,” according to the release.

Davis, 38, was buried in Dantzler Cemetery in October 2016, a week after her death, according to her obituary. She was survived by a son who turned two years old the day after she was killed, the solicitor’s office said.


This is a breaking news story

In a breaking news situation, facts can be unclear and the situation may still be developing. The State is trying to get important information to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. This story will be updated as more information becomes available, and some information in this story may change as the facts become clearer. Refresh this page later for more updated information.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.